Sunday, October 18, 2009

Local hikes: Seeley Mountain

Click to enlarge
Directions: Nine km NNW of the intersection with Peninsula Road (Marathon) turn right off Hwy 17 on to Wolf Camp Lake Road. Follow road for ~1 km and park at yellow gate (48.80193, -86.43497). Follow road on foot as it ascends to the summit of Seeley Mountain (el. 523 m).

Distance: ~4.5 km round trip from gate; ~6.4 km round trip from intersection with Hwy 17.

Degree of difficulty: moderate (3/5). Hiking boots aren't necessary as the route follows a (4wd) service road to the summit; however, it is steep, rising 245 m (~800 feet) from the parking area.

Natural Features: The summit of Seeley Mountain (site of several communications towers) overlooks a stretch of the Lake Superior Coast. It may offer a good vantage point to observe the autumn migration of raptors. This is likely a very good spot to observe hill-topping insects during the warmer months. On the hike up, we saw interesting mosses, lichens and ferns (Woodsia, Polypody, Cryptograma) on a shaded rock face beside the road. On October 15, 2008 Martha and some of her friends photographed a vagrant Rock Wren along the road to the summit. The report is under review by the Ontario Rare Birds Committee.
View to the South - Marathon Paper Mill is visible at top left
On October 18 we hiked to the summit where we were buffeted by a strong (30-40 km/h) south wind. We encountered few birds. It was interesting to look down upon a Red-tailed Hawk that was migrating westward. We heard what sounded like a good-sized flock of American Robins off in the bush - perhaps they were exploiting the bounty of Mountain Ash fruit.

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